This "executive summary" from U.S. News and World Report describes what it means to be an urban planner -- named one of the 31 best careers.
"Should a new stadium be built downtown? How can a county reduce sprawl while providing appealing, affordable housing? What should the city demand of a developer who's pushing a new project? To address questions like these, planners gorge themselves on data, conduct studies, and hold public hearings. Before making a recommendation, they'll end up wearing many hats: civil engineer, architect, economist, budget analyst, sociologist, and politician. A diplomat's touch is necessary if you expect your plan to survive all the stakeholders with competing interests."